Robin: Son of Batman #4 review

Robin SoB 4

Ever since flying the coop and returning to his original nest, Robin as been on a personal journey figuratively and literally to right the wrongs of his past. There’s been a stark contrast between the child he once was to the young man that he’s becoming. However, his new partner, Nobody II, proves that dealing with your past is not always an easy feat. For the both of them, the best way to progress is to stare their problems in the face and address them directly. The results are something that tests each character down to their core.

Robin’s solo quest has turned into a team event and here we see the team operate the most cohesively. Gone are their days of bickering, and here we see Damian, Goliath, and Maya actually care for each other while trying to accomplish their mission. Of course, I can’t completely think that they’re finished getting on each other’s nerves. They’re still young and Damian did kill Maya’s father. Still, they seemed to work out their immediate problems during their fist fight last issue.

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Robin returns to Alexandria, an ancient city in Egypt that was once the intellectual center of the old world. During the Year of Blood, Damian visited this city to raid a tomb of three specific canopic jars. As they’ve done on their previous trips, Robin and Nobody are hoping to return artifacts back to these places that were disturbed by Robin during his League of Assassins training. This time, Robin seemed to take more care in his approach to the old ruins. The obvious reason would be the numerous booby traps that line the tomb, but Robin becomes rather talkative explaining the history surrounding the location. Most of these trips have been quick endeavors to return what was stolen, but this particular tomb seemed to be of great interest to a number of people, including Damian and his grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul.

Goliath is as funny as he is ferocious Goliath is as funny as he is ferocious

Even though I love this series, the real reason I was here for the showdown between Robin and Deathstroke. Slade Wilson has had his fair share of moments with Robin in the past, but I wanted to see how Damian fared against Deathstroke. His connection to Maya through her Nobody persona is what brings Wilson to their location and he is none too happy. After being stiffed on an assassination deal that Maya had set up while posing as her father, Deathstroke has come to collect. He was surprised to Ducard’s daughter in the place of Nobody. He even made a funny quip about the daughters of assassins being in some sort of club together (Slade’s daughter, Rose is known as the Ravager). Robin comes to Goliath and Maya’s rescue for an ultimate showdown with the highly trained assassin. Now Damian does well in battles and I expect him to handle himself fine in most fights. In a one on one fight against Deathstroke, however, I can’t imagine Damian lasting too long. The fight is intense and unrelenting. It was definitely worthy of a Robin vs Deathstroke moment. Both characters have such a steel demeanor about them and the fight plays out perfectly so I won’t spoil anything about it here. It’s definitely worth checking out for yourself.

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I tip my hat to the entire creative team working on this title. The series has so much potential, and my feelings for it increase with each issue. It really helps that Gleason got to carry his art team over from the Batman and Robin, but his writing is working really well in this world that Damian now resides. A big part of B&R‘s success (besides the stellar art) was the emotional element that was present throughout the story. There’s a glimpse of this in parts of the issue. Robin, Nobody, and Goliath showed their true colors when each other’s lives are put on the line. Surprisingly, they’re a decent team. Another, more poignant scene of emotion is when Damian has a small moment while looking at his servant, Ravi. Honestly, Ravi should get some kind of reward for being the most loyal person EVER! The things he’s seen and been through, not to mention putting up with Damian should have earned Ravi a Nobel Peace Prize or some sort of grand recognition.

Gleason gets double praise as he knocks it out of the park with each each issue that he draws. The pages look great as Gleason illustrates these global locales that Robin frequents. Also, the fight between Deathstroke and Robin was phenomenal. The wild movements and quick reactions jump off the page and stick in your mind. Mick Gray and John Kalisz really make this title pop, and their worked appeared better than ever this go around. My only nitpick about the appearance of the book is that there were two occasions where there was a typo in the speech bubbles. It didn’t bother me much, but I felt the need to point it out.

Recommended if:

  • You enjoy the contrast between Damian al Ghul and the newly reformed Damian Wayne
  • You want to see some fantastic art
  • ROBIN VS DEATHSTROKE!!!!

Overall:

Gleason already had me as a fan from his pencils alone, but his writing is really growing on me as well. Working so long on the character with Peter J. Tomasi, Pat Gleason has a firm handle on Damian’s tone and personality. The mirroring of the Year of Blood to Damian’s quest of redemption helps facilitate that emotional aspect that was so prominent in Batman and Robin. The story is really fun and you can’t help but love the duo of Damian and Goliath (still pushing for the children’s book). Maya has even found a place in my heart as Goliath and Damian stick their necks out for her. I find it funny that Robin refuses to call her by the name Nobody. I also find that to be a good thing. Robin: Son of Batman‘s first guest cameo was an A+. The meeting between Damian and Deathstroke did not disappoint. This issue also struck a chord for me because this was the first time that I’ve felt Damian as Robin has surpassed his sidekick role and has begun to Coke into his own. He’s on the similar path as his predecessors before him. It was exciting to see. Hopefully, the story continues the momentum as we get ready to gear up for Robin War. Gleason has a hit on his hands with this one.

 

SCORE: 9 / 10

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